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VERIFY: Software glitch did not switch votes to Biden, Michigan officials say

Republicans claimed a 'glitch' on software used across Michigan gave Biden additional votes, but the state said it was human error that did not affect totals.

In Michigan, an error in the unofficial election results reported in one county led to allegations that votes were misallocated to Democratic candidate Joe Biden instead to President Trump.   

In a press conference on Nov. 6, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel echoed these claims. 

“There was a major software issue in Antrim County that we have concerns could have had problems in other counties as well,” she said. 

THE QUESTION

Did a “major software issue” cause the statewide election results to be affected in Michigan? 

THE ANSWER

No. An erroneous report occurred in one county due to human error.
A county clerk did not update the software that counts the physical results and which posts unofficial results online. 

When the unofficial election results online didn’t match the physical count, election officials stopped using the software in the county and manually updated the site. 

According to the Michigan Department of State, “the software did not cause a misallocation of votes; it was a result of user human error.”

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WHAT WE FOUND

In a video viewed almost 9 million times, McDaniel, who is from Michigan, says that the Antrim County clerk reported that about 6,000 votes cast for Trump were counted for Biden instead. McDaniel complained that 47 Michigan counties use the Dominion Voting Systems software and urged those counties to “closely examine their results for similar discrepancies.”

However, in an explanation titled “False statements from Ronna McDaniel have no merit,” the Michigan Department of State said the error resulted when the Antrim County clerk accidentally didn’t update the software “used to collect voting machine data and report unofficial results.” 

The department said county clerks use election management system software to combine electronic totals from tabulators and submit a report of unofficial results.

"Because the clerk did not update software, even though the tabulators counted all the ballots correctly, those accurate results were not combined properly when the clerk reported unofficial results," the department said.

Credit: AP
People continue counting and processing ballots through the early hours of Wednesday morning on Nov. 4, 2020 at the TCF Center in Detroit. Nicole Hester/Mlive.com/Ann Arbor News via AP)

The department explained there are fail-safes to ensure ballots are counted accurately. Paper ballots are retained and a totals tape, showing the count for each candidate, is printed from each machine. Had the county clerk not noticed the mistake, it would have been caught when the Board of County Canvassers, made up of two Republicans and two Democrats, reviewed the vote totals from each machine with the overall county figures, according to the Department of State.   

“This was an honest mistake and did not affect any actual vote totals,” the department said.

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